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Five Quick Ideas To Fix TNA Impact

Hulk Hogan and Dixie CarterThe ratings for TNA Impact last week are in and they aren’t good. The TNA Impact rating was a 0.9 which is not good. Can this thing be turned around? I say yes and here are five quick fixes to improve the TNA Impact ratings.

I have discussed the fall of TNA Wrestling through my radio show, podcasts, and blogs over the last five months. Repeatedly the question keeps coming up, “Can TNA Wrestling turn it around?” I think they can, but will they is a whole different question altogether. I came up with five quick changes that I feel would turn TNA Wrestling around and bump up the TNA Impact ratings. Here they are in no particular order.

1 – Change the writers! This one is so obvious yet Dixie Carter fails to realize this. Look, I can sit here and write an E Book on all of the things that Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, and Vince Russo have done wrong but at the end of the day all I have to do is point to the ratings. Bring back Dutch Mantell. Dutch Mantell has been booking pro wrestling for years, and booked in TNA Wrestling from 2003-2009. Dutch was an early casualty of the Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff direction. The irony here is that the numbers under Dutch Mantell were much higher and more consistent. Hey, I never liked everything he booked but there were more fans that did and watched TNA Wrestling on a weekly basis than they do now. Obviously something was working and he had the finger on the pulse of TNA Wrestling fans. Bring him back, and shoebaby too so he can whip TNA Impact back into shape.

2 – Put the TNA world title on Samoa Joe.

This is no disrespect to Rob Van Dam but the downside to RVD’s current TNA title run is that he will always be associated with the Hogan/Bischoff era. The fact that Samoa Joe has been practically buried since the Hogan/Bischoff era started is a great thing for him. Let me make something clear. I am not banging the Samoa Joe drum because I am a huge Samoa Joe fan. I just look at the numbers and the numbers don’t like. TNA Impact had consistently much higher television ratings when Samoa Joe was on top. More important, his main-events always did excellent numbers on pay-per- view. He is one of the few wrestlers in TNA that fans will pay money to watch wrestle. On top of that, you are sending a message to your old TNA fans that are no longer watching that you are bringing back the TNA Wrestling they loved and watched week to week. Obviously Rob Van Dam is a more recognizable name to casual fans, but the casual fans aren’t watching TNA Impact anyway.

3 – Enough with the Twitter! I rant and rave about TNA Wrestling and their fondness for Twitter all of the time, so why stop now? Once again, as a guy that makes his living off of utilizing social media I get Twitter. However, if I had a television program on Spike TV you better believe that I would put a priority on my television show to promote my angles and product. Additionally, the idea about marketing on Twitter is to send traffic to your website. Why the (I want to curse but won’t) would anyone in their friggin’ minds establish Twitter as the place to go for late breaking news over your own website? Here is an idea. Instead of tweeting about a big announcement on TNA Impact, change that to Big news about TNA Impact with a link to your website where you can drive traffic and potentially sell some merchandise. I know Dixie Carter is enjoying her 43,000 followers on her Twitter and that is all well and good, but at the end of the day she is really hurting her own company when she constantly uses her tweets to promote angles and matches. If Dixie really wants to be involved, why not create a blog on the TNA Wrestling website and use Twitter to drive her traffic there or tweet about her personal thoughts, activities, etc. Once again, the idea here is to drive traffic to the website. To be fair, it isn’t all her as TNA announced the firing of Bubba The Love Sponge on their Facebook.com account. TNA Wrestling really needs to hire a social media consultant to break down exactly how and why companies are using social media. I am available Dixie!

4 – Spotlight the TNA X-Division better. This is something that I have been screaming about for years (see a pattern here). I will admit that I am a bigger fan of the X-Division than anything else in TNA Wrestling, but my suggestion here is for business purposes only. If you watch a TNA Impact broadcast and a WWE RAW broadcast, they both feature a lot of the same things which the WWE have branded much better. However if there is one thing missing from WWE RAW that TNA Impact has, it is a high-flying, action-packed wrestling division. Let’s face it, the WWE matches all follow the same formula. TNA has something drastically different from fast and exciting matches, new moves, and quite frankly wrestlers that most teenage fans can identify with (at least the ones who aren’t into bodybuilding.) Unfortunately X-Division matches are usually buried in the first half of the show somewhere and are an afterthought by the time the show is over. Why not put an X-Division feud in the spotlight and even feature a few X-Division matches in the TNA Impact main-events? While some of the guys may not be as recognizable as most of the TNA superstars, over time the fans will gravitate to them like they did in WCW with cruiserweights like Chris Benoit, Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero, and Dean Malenko. TNA Wrestling has a rare opportunity here to present something cool, hip, and ground breaking to pro wrestling fans that they will never see on WWE RAW. Take advantage of it.

5 – Keep the old guys out of the ring.

I am not like some TNA critics who don’t want to see any of these older ex-WWE and WCW wrestlers in TNA Wrestling. I think there will always be a spot for Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Sting, etc., just not in the ring. As great as some of these guys once were, they just can’t do it anymore. Fans may stop on TNA Impact when they see Sting, but they are going to turn the dial once he starts wrestling. Once again, just look at the numbers. As bad as some WWE RAW main-events are, they all feature relatively young talent who can still go past a snail’s pace. The older guys slow down the younger guys, and even if you are giving someone the “rub” of being in the ring with a veteran, they look awful by going 50%. Additionally, TNA Impact looks at times like the old AWA shows when you’d see a monster Nord the Barbarian have to sell for a 60+ year old Baron Von Rachke or Verne Gagne and look ridiculous.

Talk to those ex-AWA guys and they will tell you they felt as ridiculous as they looked in having to do this, some even crediting this as one of the big reasons for the downfall of the AWA. I think these recognizable guys would be great as managers (like Ric Flair) or backstage interviews, or even analysts. I think it would be kind of cool in the middle of the show to send it back to some roundtable of ex-WWE and WCW headliners and get their opinions like all of the major sports shows do or use them in some kind of post-show online or on Spike TV. Do you mean to tell me that Spike TV wouldn’t be interested in a show that featured Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Mick Foley, and Sting on a panel talking about TNA Impact, interviewing TNA superstars, and maybe even answering fan email? Not to mention, who better to sell a feud or angle than a bunch of guys that made millions selling their own angles and storylines? All I am saying is that it is alright to keep these guys around, but take the boots off of them.

So there are my five quick ideas on how to turn around TNA Impact. Do I think TNA Wrestling will read or apply any of these? I would highly doubt it, considering some of these ideas are too easy that I feel almost embarrassed writing about them. However, something needs to be done and be done fast about TNA Impact before it goes away altogether. Apparently there must have been some flaw in the Eric Bischoff survey because it doesn’t look anyone was clamoring to bring first-run TNA programming back to Thursday nights.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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